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How to Pray Psalm 23

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It occurred to me, when posting a few minutes ago, that perhaps not everyone reading my posts understands how to pray through a passage of Scripture.  I’ve found a method that our pastor’s wife taught me during Bible study very helpful. I was a Christian for nearly 25 years before I knew this technique.

I highly recommend memorizing Psalm 23; it’s short and you can recite it quickly anyplace you feel comfortable doing so. The below is from the NASB version. I prefer it because it is very poetic and supposedly the best word-for-word translation, but not always the most easily understood.

You recite a portion of Scripture then pray on it. The below is not what I say every time or it’d be a stale, rote prayer. This is just an example to give you an idea of how to do it, not something to recite.

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” Thank you, Lord, that You are leading and guiding me through this day. Thank you that You promise to meet all my needs so that I don’t have to worry. You love me and care about me. May I be wise enough to listen to Your voice and follow You and Your path.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures;” Thank you, Lord, that You will only lead me to green pastures. When I need rest, You force me to lie down and take care of myself. You don’t make me lie down in the mud, but where I’ll be refreshed.

“He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul;” Lord, thank You for providing me with a quiet place to rest. I don’t calm my soul. You take responsibility for restoring and calming my soul. It isn’t something I can grunt out in my own effort. You calm my spirit.

“He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.” Lord, You will never lead me to do evil. I can always count on You to guide me in the right path. When I start to stray, You will warn me and encourage me back onto the path that’s best for my life and Your glory. If I get stubborn and insist on wandering off, You’ll discipline me and get me back where I belong, following You.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me;” Lord, when life sucks, I’m not stuck there. You promise to lead me out to the other side and to be with me the entire journey. I don’t need to fear evil because You’re with me. I’m not traveling this path of life alone.

“Your rod and Your staff, these comfort me.” You are able to guide me back onto the right path with Your staff and You can protect me from my enemies with Your rod. Anyone who wants to harm me has to deal with You.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;” (The table here is a mountaintop of good grass the shepherd leads his sheep to. He prepares the table by pulling out the noxious weeds and anything that’s harmful to the sheep before allowing them to graze.) Lord, You’re leading me to a place of safety and protection. If I follow Your will according to Your Word, it’s going to take me to a good place.

“You’ve anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.” Thank you for this beautiful day, the love of my family, that I can see, hear, taste, feel, etc… (Express thankfulness for your blessings.)

“Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life. And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Thank you, Lord, that I don’t need to fear death. There is not a moment You’re not with me and I will dwell with You forever when I leave this life. I can count on You to help me when I mess up and turn it around for good (Romans 8:28) because of Your loving care.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I highly recommend the book, “A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23,” by Phillip Keller to get a better understanding what King David had in mind when he composed the psalm.

Have a glorious day.